Uttarakhand chief minister BC Khanduri has emerged Anna Hazare's poster boy after quick enactment of a strong lokayukta bill and three other laws to curb corruption. Buoyed by public support for his government's action, he now says the people are determined to make the setting up of ombudsmen (lokpal) an election issue in the state polls early next year and the BJP has got a head start.
"There is a tremendous shift in the people's attitude, thanks to Anna's movement. Common man is in no mood to tolerate corruption today, and we managed to get the bills passed unanimously," Khanduri told HT on Monday.
His effusive praise for Anna is in contrast to the BJP's calibrated support for the Gandhian. Team Anna has hailed his bill as closest to Jan Lokpal bill. "In my earlier stint as CM, I had taken many steps to curb corruption. This time, I followed where I had left and got the full support of my party," he said.
Khanduri, 77, returned as CM two months ago after his predecessor Ramesh Pokhriyal was removed to refurbish the image of the BJP government.
Paradoxically, he was forced out of office ion 2009 by his detractors among the MLAs after the BJP lost all 5 Lok Sabha seats due to infighting on the ground that he was not bothered about their "interests."
Khanduri said,"I have become wiser today and learnt lessons from my experience. On the very first Cabinet meeting on September 11 (on the day he was sworn in as CM) I set the ball rolling for the lokayukta bill. I got full support of the entire Cabinet and the party. All employess unions have supported us."
He said, "While the UPA government might still have reservation over the Jan Lokpal Bill, the Congress in Uttarakhand dropped its dilly dallying tactics to extend support for our measures. Ours is not a stage-managed show."
Surprisingly, Khanduri had a word of praise for state governor Margaret Alva. Unlike other Congress-appointed governors, Alva fully supported his government's efforts, Khanduri said.